4

I work (8 months) at a smallish healthcare company, as a SQL Data Analyst, that is transitioning to a technology/product model.

We have around 80 people and 10 in my department.

The issue I'm facing is that I am not invited to certain strategic meetings. (Where 70% of my department goes.)

I've asked a co-worker and his opinion is that I am considered young and inexperienced (Objectively true) and therefore not brought to meetings.

I feel like I can provide value to the team and upset that they seem to not see this.

How can I overcome this barrier?

Note: I have had an experience in the past where I had an emotional outburst. Not yelling or anything, but blocking someone from conversation.

Background: Completed 6month training program followed by 6month internship as helpdesk. Only have a high school diploma. (Graduated 3 1/2 years ago)

Please let me know if I should provide additional details. Thank you all for your time and consideration!

  • 1
    "90% of my department goes" and "9 in my department" implies that you are the only one in your department not going to these meetings. Is that accurate? Have you asked your manager why everyone in the department but you is being invited? It would seem odd to invite an entire department to a strategic meeting (other than department-level strategy meetings) and even odder to exclude just one person. – Justin Cave Jan 21 '16 at 23:56
  • You're correct in your calculation; I did not state the numbers correctly. (edited) Correct numbers are 70% go where 3 are behind. EDIT: I have not asked him yet. I wanted to get an external opinion before I breached the subject. – Alkarion Jan 21 '16 at 23:59
  • OK. So 6 of 9 people are going to those meetings. Is there some commonality to those 6 people? If your department consists of 6 senior people and 3 junior people, then it's pretty reasonable that strategy meetings would involve the 6 senior people. – Justin Cave Jan 22 '16 at 0:11
  • 1
    Humm... You're excused from having to waste time in meetings, and you're complaining? – jamesqf Jan 22 '16 at 20:50
  • 1
    I found that getting old and experienced helped quite a bit. That's not intended to be flippant, but going through what you go through when you're young and inexperienced is a rite of passage we all go through. Unless you're some kind of prodigy, there's not usually a way to bypass it. – Blrfl Jan 23 '16 at 12:27
11

Being young fixes itself automatically, so no need to do anything about that. In one sense being inexperienced is also self-correcting, but you will be seen as being more experienced in proportion to what you learn both on the job and by any other studying.

Meetings are not a reward or a status symbol. They are another form of work. Presumably, your manager has decided that the meetings in question would not currently be as good a use of your time as carrying on with your normal work.

Selecting meeting participants can be difficult. The more people, the greater the risk of wasted time due to side tracks. Adding people carries a cost in bringing them up to speed - regular participants in a series of meetings have a shared background. On the other hand, a meeting may need a range of skills and knowledge. Relatively junior people may be invited because they have some knowledge that is needed. Senior people may need to be invited just to get their commitment to the results of the meeting.

There is a risk that you would add net negative value, just by being another, new participant. To make your attendance a good idea, you would have to add greater net positive value than the cost of your time.

If you do decide to ask to attend, limit it initially to asking to observe one or two of the meetings to see what you can learn from them. Remember that ideas that seem new and useful to you may have last been discussed 6 months ago. You can discuss your ideas with one or two of your colleagues without costing the time of all the meeting participants. It is quite likely that once you have been to a couple of them they will lose their attractiveness, and you will prefer not to have to attend.

  • 2
    Thank you for your excellent answer! This makes a lot of sense. I will take this into great consideration as I procede. – Alkarion Jan 22 '16 at 1:32
  • If you do decide to ask to attend, limit it initially to asking to observe one or two of the meetings to see what you can learn from them. Couldn't agree more. Also, having a discussion with your manager where you explain your eagerness to advance and how being a fly on the wall may help you achieve that may make the decision easier. If following that route, be sure to stick to only observing for a while though. – silencedmessage Jan 22 '16 at 18:49
0

One strategy to gain the confidence of other's is to give them your confidence and trust first. How do you handle orders and suggestions? You don't have to 100% agree with everything, so start there.

Instead of suggesting the group would be much better if they had your input, start with suggestion that if you attend the meetings, you can learn a lot more and better understand how to do your job when you've heard different strategies being suggested and debated.

Attend several before offering any input. If you have questions, ask them in private, so you don't look like you're objecting (Sorry, but you're inexperienced and others will feel threatened by what they'll interpret as objections.). Focus on understanding and not being right. You may be surprised and learn something you didn't know. That's OK. You can always send some email with a suggestion, but only after you demonstrate you're trying to learn and understand the broader context of each problem.

Eventually, someone may ask for your input and that is a great time to give it. Since you've been developing a reputation of wanting to learn and not coming across as a know-it-all, your ideas will get more acceptance. Beware, they can still like your ideas and not implement them. Don't get discouraged. Keep battling.

Be careful what you ask for. At some point, you're going to be required to provide solutions when you have none. The more senior you are the less you get to rely on cherry-picking problems you already know about. That's what the rookies are for.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.